[ RadSafe ] uranium leak at SOCATRI plant

BRISSON Nicolas nicolas.brisson at irsn.fr
Wed Jul 9 04:31:22 CDT 2008

It seems that the document didn't made to the list, so here is a translation of an information note released by IRSN.

Nicolas Brisson
31, rue de l'Ecluse
tel : 01-30-15-42-75
por :  06-08-76-55-32


The plant of SOCATRI, located on the site of Tricastin deals with decontamination of nuclear installation cleaning up tools and recovery of uranium. 

The effluents generated by the various workshops dedicated to these operations are handled by the uranium effluent treatment plant before being discharged into the canal Donzère - Mondragon. 

On 7 July 2008 at 23 h 00, the overflow of a tank of this plant
has caused the spill of about 30 m3 of solution containing uranium (uranium content 12 g/l). This loss of integrity of the tank led to the spillage of part of the solution in the building and in the sewage.
This network joins the river "Gaffière" and then "Lauzon" and finally the Rhone. 
The first actions taken by SOCATRI to limit the consequences have been to isolate this network on the site and to drill into the ground water where the spill occured to carry out measurements in the water and, where appropriate, pump the contaminated water to limit its spread into the environment. 

The IRSN was alerted of the incident by local authorities; 
The Institute sent an expert to join the crisis management team of the Prefecture of Vaucluse and a team of first responders near the facility to carry out sampling and measurements of surface and ground water. 
In addition, a team of experts gathered at the crisis management center of IRSN to asses the situation. It proposed a set of actions related to the restricting measures concerning use and consumption of water already 
adopted by the Prefect. 

The first measurements of surface waters carried out by the operator showed uranium concentration exceeding the guide value recommended by WHO for water intended for the human consumption by a factor of 1000 for a short period during the peak of pollution. 

Some pollution having seeped into the soil, IRSN defined a monitoring plan 
for ground water whose results will be published on its website 
This information will allow the local public authorities to adapt and then lift the restricting measures already set up. 

Analysis of the first measurements by the IRSN show that the radiological consequences for people should be negligible. 

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